State Department Starts a Blog

Very quickly, from the Associated Press:

The normally hushed corridors of diplomacy are about to get a jolt.

The State Department’s first-ever blog was to go live on the Internet late Tuesday in a launch timed to coincide with the buzz surrounding the U.N. General Assembly. It upgrades U.S. foreign policy to Web 2.0 interactivity for the new electronic information age.

"Dipnote" aims to give Net surfers an insider’s view of diplomacy and diplomats with informal, chatty posts from key senior players in Washington and abroad as well as a younger generation weaned on e-mail for whom traditional cable traffic communication is foreign

A swell outreach. I wonder how much discussion they had on imaginary Smith-Mundt prohibitions against the blog and how many rules are in place to bifurcate overseas and domestic content.

It is interesting that Sean McCormack, who works for Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes is the face of this. Has the view of Smith-Mundt become so intrusive as to create the internal impression that Karen Hughes should remain focused externally? Can anybody shed light on the internal politics going on here?

Dipnote is the latest in a series of innovations blessed by Rice and set in motion by McCormack’s office to bring the State Department into the mainstream of 21st century information technology.

The department has already vastly expanded its Web presence and multimedia coordinator Heath Kern has set up a State Department YouTube channel, where special briefings and interviews with officials on key issues of the day are posted.

I’m curious that if State has adopted Smith-Mundt wholeheartedly as they apparently have, have they fully ignored the news service aspect of Smith-Mundt? How is the blog not more like a news service than including images on a powerpoint shown to a US audience that were included in overseas literature?

More lipstick from State…

State’s Dipnote can be found here. As of this writing, DipNote is down so I haven’t seen it….

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